Spring Break is just around the corner, and you know what that means. Soon you and the family will be relaxing poolside under the sun and enjoying time away from the grind. But before anyone can soak up enough vitamin D to last them ‘til summer, you have to get there. Your task, should you accept it, is a daunting one. Whether flying half-way across the world or a driving across the state, you face hours of travel time with your kids in tow. There’s only so many times you can hear, “are we there yet?” without losing your cool.
As you approach your big vacation — you know, the time when you’re expected to relax away from your regular routine — don’t add to your travel stress by letting your kids grow restless. Keep your calm wherever you’re going this Spring Break by using this guide.
Get Them Involved
A great way to banish boredom is by getting your children involved in planning the family’s trip. While you and your partner have the final say over the plans, this collaboration can do wonders for your kids’ attitude. Brainstorm together possible activities, day-trips, and destinations as a family. Ask them where they want to go, what they want to see, and what they want to do during the holiday. When you listen to what they have to say and include their suggestions, you’re sharing a sense of ownership over the vacation. It’s no longer a trip that you dragged them along for but a trip that they helped design. This can boost their excitement over the journey and instill a commitment to see it through.
Build the Ultimate Distraction Pack
The novelty of going on a vacation they helped plan will only last so long. If you’re lucky, it will last well into the flight. If you aren’t, you’re stuck with restless and grumpy kids in the line for security. Whenever the boredom descends, you can keep it at bay with a distraction pack. Large or small, these packs hold portable, mess-free activities that will hold their interest at any stage of the vacation.
A tablet or iPad is one of the best additions to this pack. Whether you have a Microsoft Edge or an iPad Mini, these devices are small, lightweight, and perfect for travel. They also offer a near limitless number of activities. Before you leave, research kid-friendly apps and load up on games and educational activities. Download the Netflix app and find out which of their favorite movies and TV shows are available for download. These can be a life-saver when circumstances beyond your control delay your flight.
Travelling can be rough on your devices, especially when your tech is in the hands of your youngest child. Don’t let the risk of damage stop you from capitalizing on it as a travel tool. If your gadgets collect scrapes, dents, and grime while abroad, you can give your devices a facelift once you’re back at home with a tablet or iPad skin from dbrand. They have dedicated followers (on your favorite social media platform) that swear by their products for the quality, ease of use (not all skins are buil t the same!), huge selection, and cheap shipping options. You can customize a skin that clings to the outside of your tech, hiding cosmetic damages underneath a unique decal.
Don’t rely solely on tech to keep them occupied. Analogue activities and crafts are classics for a reason. A good old-fashioned book or coloring book are a great replacement for the iPad when they’ve reached their limit of screen time. Involve the whole family by bringing a pack of card, and keep things fresh by alternating rounds of Go Fish with Snap, Rummy, and Crazy Eights. And when that doesn’t work, Eye Spy and 20 Questions can act as your final back up.
Choose Child-Friendly Destinations
Before you had children, your typical travel plans involved backpacking through South America, hiking through rainforests when you weren’t bar-hopping in the city. This kind of trip isn’t appropriate now that you have small ones to think about. That doesn’t mean you have to lose out on an adventure when planning your trip; it’s just going to be a different kind of adventure. Start searching for cities or hotels known as family-friendly destinations. Many of the world’s metropolitans have cultural centers, museums, and art galleries that cater to young children. Even certain hotels offer kids’ activities and other deals for families.
If a DIY holiday isn’t in your future, visit websites like Expedia, Travelocity, or Red Tag Vacations. These online databases make it easy to search all-inclusive resorts that a young family can enjoy together. Since the final price includes your major costs, like airfare and accommodations, these deals often end up being cheaper than those trips you have to create from scratch on your own.
Plan around Downtime
Though a full schedule packed with tours and activities is a great way to keep everyone in the family occupied, it’s not possible to be on the go at every waking moment of your trip. Sometimes, you’ll have an hour gap between a special lunch and an early evening bus tour. Don’t let this hour ruin the fun atmosphere you managed to cultivate during the rest of the vacation. Don’t allow it to push you into stores where you’re tempted to spend more money than you’ve budgeted. Look up community parks, public spaces, and even libraries that you can visit without being forced to spend money. You might be able to find a perfectly-timed activity led by the local library or nature conservation.
Travelling can be stressful on a good day, but it’s usually tempered by a flush of excitement for your week away from the daily grind. When it’s accompanied by your kids yelling “I’m bored” and “are we there yet” the shrill cacophony bursts any excitement you feel over your destination. Don’t become the mom or dad who loses their cool before you even touchdown. Keep calm let boredom ruin what would be an otherwise amazing Spring Break with your family. Use this guide to keep your kids occupied, and you can remove some of the anxiety you feel about your upcoming trip. Because, after all, this vacation is for you, too!